Control

Then You crash over me – I’ve lost control but I’m free

The song “In Over My Head” by Bethel Music has spoken so clearly to me and is driving me to see things in myself that are difficult to confront but necessary to do.

These are my thoughts on the matter…

It’s all about control for me. This is the thorn in my side. The mountain I travel around and around and around and can’t seem to ever conquer. I am fearful of what might happen if I lose it – but it’s an illusion – I’ve never had it and never will.

I used to have a much more care-free attitude about life. The me I was as a teenager is vastly different from the me I am today.I wasn’t afraid of what other people thought of me (and am quickly returning to that frame of mind the older I get). I didn’t make choices based on keeping people out or keeping myself protected. Life and people have changed me and my mind set. Betrayals by friends that I thought would never hurt me, job losses that left us stretched and stressed, relationships that take every ounce of sanity and energy you have to give, watching good people make horrible choices that ruin their lives and hurt those around them. Life. It has made me careful and made trust a huge issue for me.

Trust is what I lack and what makes me want to control. I can’t trust people not to hurt me so I control who gets in – and it’s few who do. I can’t trust God to keep my finances from failing so I control my finances instead of asking Him to guide my steps – and it’s really me who I shouldn’t trust. I have a hard time delegating because I don’t trust that people will follow through – so I control the project so that I won’t be disappointed and wear myself out in the process.

I have come to this place in my life

I’m full but I’m not satisfied

This longing to have more of You

I have been a Christian since I was seven years old and came to a full understanding of what that means when I was sixteen. I have been in church since birth and haven’t missed many Sundays. I know God. I know Jesus. I know in my head Who He is and that He loves me. Sometimes my heart lags behind. “I have come to this place in my life” that I am weary of this mountain and I long to look to Him more and let go of control.

Further and Further my heart moves away from the shore

Whatever it looks like, whatever may come I am Yours

Even though I have been a Christian so long and I have been taught these things and know these things about Who God is giving Him control is still hard to do. The longing doesn’t make it easier. This world and how I control my part of it doesn’t satisfy my soul – only my surrender to God will bring satisfaction and quench my soul’s longing. I am moving myself further away from what makes me comfortable and from areas of my life that I can control so that I can say to God “I trust You”, “I want what You want…whatever that is”.

Then You crash over me and I’ve lost control but I’m free

I’m going under, I’m in over my head

Then you crash over me and I’m where You want me to be

I grew up in Southern California and I LOVE the beach. The sounds and smells of the ocean are a huge comfort to me. I learned to ride the waves by body surfing and on a boogie board so very long ago! You have to time it just right or things can go wrong. Have you ever been caught in one of those huge waves? Just tumbling and tumbling and tumbling until you think you just might not make it out alive? That is terrifying – and exhilarating – and terrifying. The wave is not out of control – it is following exactly the course it set out to follow from the beginning. The wave did not change it’s course to accommodate me. I am the one out of control. I am the one who misjudged the situation. That is how it feels to me to give God control of my life, relationships and finances – terrifying – and exhilarating – and terrifying. God is not out of control. He is following exactly the course He set out to follow from the beginning. He does not change His course to accommodate me. I am the one out of control. I am the one who misjudged the situation.

Whether I sink, whether I swim

It makes no difference when I’m beautifully in over my head

Unlike that wave, God will not leave me alone to get myself out of the trouble I have gotten myself into. He will be with me, guide me, direct me and lead me if I ask Him to. I only have to be willing to ask and then surrender control to Him.

A link to the song if you would like to listen – In Over My Head

Momma

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Some of you may be aware that my mother is an author, some may not. She has always been creative, been a part of creative things and exposed us to literature, music, theater and the beauty in God’s creation. She didn’t expose us to all of this by just making us read books, listen to music, attend movies and showing us pictures…she is a doer.

My mother took us to the beach just to take a walk, we spent time in the mountains hiking, she locked us out of the house at least once a week so that we would play outside and not waste away indoors. My mother performed with local civic theaters from the time I was a little girl and I always enjoyed watching her on stage, sitting in the audience with my dad and siblings eating my JuJu Bees and experiencing musicals and plays with my mom singing and dancing and enjoying herself. We would sometimes get to stay up late to watch her sing on TBN…I thought she was a TV Star. She made sure we read books (whether we liked it or not). My Momma is a story teller. I love to listen to her tell stories. Now I am an avid reader who gets lost in stories and people between the book covers, I sing and participate in music leadership at my church, I have done theater, love to see and be out in God’s creation (although Texas makes it hard – I truly do love to be outside).

I am grateful that I have had her as my mother to teach me the importance of doing and not just watching others experience things, to encourage me and to sometimes push me to audition, to set the example of taking time for myself and to do things I enjoy, to love my family and to have fun and BE fun. I am proud of the way she has learned new technology and how she fights through the frustration of how difficult it can be so that she can achieve her goals. She is a inspiring woman. I am proud that my children and my grandchildren have her as an example for how to live a life.

As she sits here at my table we are getting ready to set up her new blog. Something that her publishers have asked her to do and, right now, seems like just one more frustrating thing for her to have to do to get to her goal. I am excited about it because I know once she learns how to work it she will be sharing her thoughts, stories and insights with my friends and her friends and people who she doesn’t even know but who like what she has to say. This is going to be good.

I love you Momma. Thank you for being who you are and living life the way that you have.

*if you are interested in finding out more about her book please check it out here and pre-order your copy today

http://www.pen-l.com/Ringleader.html

A Peek Inside – No Pity Please

I am feeling a bit snarky this morning after a long night of crazy dreams and little sleep – so, if you choose to read, you will get the benefit of my slightly filtered thoughts…

Something I don’t like to bring attention to is the fact that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis – an autoimmune disease that has the potential to cripple me if not monitored and treated with medication – it can also be fatal if I’m not careful about infections because of the medications I’m on (I have a hard time wrapping my head around that part!) Thankfully, I have a doctor who is my ally against this disease and is my biggest weapon! I am thankful that God provided her to me after being told by others that there was nothing wrong with me for a little over a year.  My pain and limitations are well under control and I am able to function almost ‘normally’ (whatever that is!). If I pace myself and save up my energy to have to spend on the things I want to, I am good to go! Most autoimmune diseases are not something that you can see physical effects of – they are quite invisible most of the time. What’s got me particularly amped up this morning is this…

I read a post this morning about a young friend of my daughter-in-law – and I mean YOUNG! – who was harassed and insulted in a parking lot after leaving her doctor’s office for parking in a handicapped space (and she has a handicapped parking placard). She has Lupus. She has pain every day – a lot of pain, a lot of limitations, a lot of medications, a lot of responsibilities with three little girls at home and a husband who is deployed. I realize that a lot of people use handicapped parking spaces and they shouldn’t – people can be irresponsible and callous to the needs of others – but that doesn’t give me – or you – or anyone – the right to make that judgement.

My daughter-in-law also has an autoimmune disease and is faced with careless comments and judgement because she looks healthy and is young. Honestly, I think I’m rather young to be dealing with this thing myself! Sometimes illness isn’t written all over a face or body. Sometimes these awful diseases happen to young mothers, teenagers, children…you don’t have to be ‘OLD’ to have these things happen to you. It’s not something we asked for or planned for and we have a looooong life ahead to deal with this.

If you find yourself getting angry or upset because you see someone who you think is abusing the system – say a prayer for them. Ask God to convict them if they are doing something they shouldn’t and to ease their pain, heal their body or give them extra energy to finish their day if that is what they need. Even if you don’t find yourself getting angry or upset do that anyway! I know I could use the prayer, so can Melanie and her friend. Ask if you can lend a hand if they have groceries to load or need help getting kids into the car…you will be better off if you do those things rather than lean into them for doing something you THINK is wrong.

Let yourself be the hands and feet of God instead of being judge and jury.

His Grace is sufficient for me – and it would be nice to have some human understanding.

Scarlett Taylor Massey

Last week a new grandbaby entered my world. Her name is Scarlett Taylor Massey. She weighed 7lbs 7oz and was 19 3/4 inches long. And the most beautiful baby girl I’ve seen in a long, long time (almost 19 years since the last most beautiful baby girl in my life!).

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 I know most of you reading this did not miss this big event as we all posted like crazy people on facebook! Isn’t she beautiful? I know you think so, I just like asking so I can hear you say yes.

She is a lucky little girl. She has a Mother who knows what she is doing and loves her beyond measure, a Daddy who adores her and works hard to provide for her, a big brother who has parents to teach him what it means to be one, he will teach her how to have fun, laugh, play and probably other things that won’t be so fun for the parents!

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She is also surrounded by so many, many family members who love her and pray for her and desire God’s best for her. And we were all there at the hospital waiting to meet her! I think the staff might have thought we were all a little much at times (except those that knew us already!).

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It’s good to know that Scarlett will have so many who love her, protect her, guide her and pray for her!

My heart is full and happy! This GiGi  is blessed!

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A Weekend with The Rush

The best group of youth I know

The best group of youth I know

I have been working with our churches youth group, The Rush, for around 6 years. We are a small congregation (growing all the time!) and we do not have a paid, full-time youth minister so all of our youth leadership are volunteers. I am privileged to work with my best friends, my husband and people who care very much about the students and how they grow up to view God and their service to Him. I have to admit that I didn’t want to do this at first. I thought that teenagers were rude and didn’t really like being around them. But with a promise that I would be ‘mostly’ administration and not have a lot of one on one contact with the students I gave in and committed to the work. I am so glad that I did. Our students are some of the best people I know and some of these kids are in my ‘most favorite people’ group.  God teaches me so many things through these students. I am blessed and I am so glad to know them!

Last weekend we had our annual Discipleship Weekend. We camped out locally at Lake Lavon in Wylie, Texas.  Now, I am not a camper. I enjoy being outdoors but I don’t enjoy spider ridden bathrooms, no showers, miserable cold/hot weather, or generally living outdoors. I can do it for a time and don’t mind it too much if I am close to civilization so I can run to the store to pick up something I forgot to bring! And, most importantly, I get to have S’mores which is one of the reasons I camp at all! (It also helps to have a good friend who brings her heater and lays a ‘carpet’ to keep the mud off the floor).

We had 15 students attend, 6 Rush alumni who came to lead small groups, teach and lead worship (one of my favorite parts about our ministry is bringing back our alumni to mentor our students!), 6 adults and one Rush mascot, Madi Hume!  That meant 8 tents (plus one for our food pantry), lots of sleeping bags and pillows, a great deal of food and a whole bunch of fun to be had!  

Friday night we had a lot of wind and a 1:00 am text message from an alum to come and help with their tent that was falling down. That led to checking all of the tents before heading off to bed.J fishing The rest of the night was windy but uneventful.

Saturday was overcast and we had sprinkling rain on and off Canoeingall day but the students had a good time anyway. We started our morning with a large group meeting and small group time and then the students had some free time. They all found things to do like canoeing , fishing, volleyball, games and the guys were determined to chop a fallen tree in half…and they did! 

Before ChopAfter chop

We kept an eye on the weather all day as we knew that some storms were coming our way. Before dinner time we decided that we needed to leave the campsite and wait for the worst of the storm to pass. This is when the trip became a huge challenge! We headed to our church campus to cook dinner and have our group meeting and small group time hoping the storm would pass and we could return to the campsite before 10:00 pm when they closed the gates. This meant that we had to pack up all of our food and supplies, get the students assigned to vehicles to get them to the church and be sure all of our tents and supplies staying at the campsite were secured. We also discovered before leaving that one of the guys tents had a broken zipper and their sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, clothes and Bibles were soaked.  We had to pack up all of their wet belongings so we could dry them while at the church so they would have something to sleep with that night. The storm took it’s time and did not come through while we were at the church so we headed back to the campsite with instructions to wait in the cars until the lightning had passed. About 45 minutes later we moved to the pavilion to have S’mores (thank goodness we didn’t have to cancel S’mores!) and wait a little longer for the rain to ease up. Once we cleaned up we sent the students to their tents, splitting the flooded-tent-boys up between the other two boys tents. Girls were getting settled and my great friend with the heater was re-setting our tent when Mark and I were told that a second boys tent was flooded and everything was soaked. Sigh…BIG sigh! So…we called our back up house for the boys, decided to move the girls to my house for the night and  told the students to pack up their stuff again, throw the wet stuff in the trailer, assigned students to cars, secured the campsite and left for the night.  (I must admit, we had another house secured for the girls as a back up but I really just wanted to sleep in my own bed after the night we had had!). There was no complaining when told everyone to go right to bed and to sleep…no surprise there!

Sunday morning

Sunday morning we returned to the campsite for breakfast and to have our morning worship service. The storm has passed and it was really beautiful. I wish it hadn’t been so cold so that we could have enjoyed it more! We cleaned up camp, hung things to dry, packed up the trailer and sent the students on their way.

With all that went wrong. These students went right. I can’t say that there was no complaining but it was minimal. During the worst of it they did what they were told and did it quickly without questions. They found ways to have fun in spite of adversity. They grew closer to each other and to God. I love these students! Past and present. I am so glad that I said ‘yes’ to this ministry and am so blessed to have them be a part of my life.

Pray for them. They need God’s guidance in what they face every day at their schools and in this world. They can be part of your ministry through prayer. They are worth every minute of time spent on them. That’s the truth!